Ag One Foundation
Manuel "JR" Mancebo
Manuel "JR" Mancebo (center) with students from the Dairy Science Club, President Joseph Castro, Dean Witte and Dairy Science professor Dr. Kyle Thompson in 2017.
1930 - 2018
Ag One, the Jordan College and Fresno State lost a dear friend on June 17, Manuel "JR" Mancebo.
Mancebo helped build Kings County Truck Lines into an industry leader before selling the company in 2006. Starting as a mechanic apprentice for the family company at the age of 17, he climbed the company ranks, taking over the family business in 1971 at the age of 41.
Founded in 1940 by Mancebo’s father and Portuguese immigrant Manuel S. “Spike” Mancebo, the company developed a reputation for its safe and reliable transportation of milk products and dry goods throughout the Central Valley and Southern California. Mancebo’s commitment to client service helped the company expand its operations to Northern California, Oregon, Arizona and Utah, as it added major contracts with companies such as Safeway and Baskin-Robbins. At the height of its business, its shipping line grew to 1,000 trucks and more than 800 employees.
Mancebo was equally respected within the Tulare community with his wife of 61 years, Katye, who passed away in November 2014. They were active in supporting local charities, including Valley Children’s hospital, St. Aloysius Catholic Church and other community and education-based organizations.
In 2017, Mancebo pledged a $1 million bequest in support of the Fresno State dairy science program. Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro, Jordan College Dean Sandra Witte, faculty, staff, students and industry supporters honored the former trucking magnate and his late wife, Katye, May 6, 2017 at a dairy science club banquet in Tulare. In recognition of their generosity, Fresno State will request that the campus dairy production facility be renamed the Manuel “JR” and Katye Mancebo Dairy.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made payable to the Ag One Foundation.
Manuel Mancebo Jr, (JR to family and friends) was born in Los Banos CA. JR’s father founded Kings County Truck Lines in 1940 and before JR graduated high school he began working in the family business. He started in the shop sweeping floors, and through arduous work and dedication he learned the business and became CEO in 1977. He was not only the owner of Kings County Truck Lines, but also owner of multiple trucking companies. He drove KCTL to be the largest milk transport company west of the Mississippi. He was the past President of the California Trucking Association (CTA) and Our Lady of Fatima, as well as being a member of the American Trucking Association (ATA). He served his country in the National Guard and his philanthropy was felt across the Nation, especially here in the valley. JR’s hobbies included woodworking at his home workshop. He was a talented craftsman making everything from grandfather clocks, his famous time-out chairs, and baby cradles, to golf ball and fishing pole racks, and even entertainment centers. He gifted everything he made because he enjoyed it so much. He loved spending time in his shop, listening to country music, puffing his cigar and enjoying the occasional drink, sometimes many. He was a blessing in this world and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. There are so many who have benefited from his time and generosity: St. Aloysius Catholic Church, St. Aloysius School, Our Lady of Fatima, California Creamery Operators Association, Boy Scouts of America, named Scout of the Year 1996, Valley Children’s Hospital, Tulare Hospital Foundation, Fresno State University, TDES and Tulare Cabrillo Civic Club #12. He is survived by his sisters Phyllis (Ron) Quinn, Carmen Pinheiro, daughter Susan Sowash, granddaughter Kari (Billy) Ingram, great granddaughter Victoria Ingram, and his extended family John and Janet Day, Perry and Karen Southard, Kathy and Billy Sherrill.
He was preceded in death by his father Manuel ‘Spike’ Mancebo, mother Amelia Mancebo Kerdikes, brother John and his wife Katye. Also, instrumental in his upbringing was his beloved Grandma Silva, who he adored.
Recitation of the Rosary and Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Monday, June 25, 2018, 10:30 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 125 E. Pleasant Ave. Tulare, with private family Burial.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to: Ag One Foundation at Fresno State in support of the dairy science program, or Valley Children’s Healthcare Foundation, 9300 Valley Children’s Place PC17 Madera, CA. 93639. Arrangements are entrusted to Miller’s Tulare Funeral Home
"I am deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Manuel Mancebo's passing. As an icon of the San Joaquin Valley's dairy industry, he was a cherished friend and supporter of Fresno State. His generous gift to the University will provide vital support to the next generation of agricultural leaders in the Valley and beyond. I am honored that our dairy science program will perpetuate the Mancebo legacy of both Mr. Mancebo and his late wife, Katye."
- Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro